Why You Should Use a Static Website
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to look for fast solutions to our problems. Unfortunately, as with many things in life, convenient solutions can have a lot of unintended or even invisible downsides Websites are no different. In this blog, we’ll explore what a static website is and the benefits it could offer to your small business.
What is a Static Website?
Static websites have been around since the very first pages of the internet. In essence, all it means to be “static” is to have an HTML file sent directly from the server to your browser. This is extremely efficient as the server doesn’t spend precious seconds to interpret how the site should look and be displayed before sending it to you.
Dynamic websites, in contrast, typically store a lot of information on a CMS (like Wordpress or Wix) and then use code running on the server to build the HTML file for the page on the back-end every time you go to it. Most sites that are built on Wordpress or another website builder use this method.
The advantage that static sites have over dynamic ones is a significant increase in speed and performance, security, and easy deployment. Static sites are often knocked for having a limited functionality or interactivity, though these claims are often overstated, especially with the rise of new technology and frameworks.
Benefits of Static Websites
- Speed and performance: Static websites simply can’t be beat in terms of speed. Since the server doesn’t need to do any processing to create each page on load, it can serve your browser what it needs as soon as possible.
- Security and simplicity: In short, static sites are secure because they have fewer moving parts. Since they don’t need to access a data-base or run scripts, there are simply fewer methods for hackers to use. This simplicity also naturally makes these sites easier to deploy.
- Lower cost to maintain and scale: Storing all of the information and running all of the scripts to build a site, dynamically generated sites simply use more server capacity. This naturally increases the cost of hosting. Since static sites are only feeding the source files, they do not suffer the same cost increases, and can even be served by content delivery networks (CDNs) which can ensure your site loads quickly from anywhere in the world.
- SEO: Google looks for sites that are fast, responsive, and structured to allow them to be easily indexed. Static sites check all of these boxes.
- Much Higher Uptimes: I hear so often about an update to Wordpress or a random plugin completely tanking somebody’s website while they’re not paying attention. You simply don’t need to worry about things like Wordpress’s dreaded White Screen of Death.
- Ease of Maintenance: Often, people cite difficulty updating sites as a knock on static websites. Perhaps that was true 5 or 10 years ago. Nowadays we have tools called Static Site Generators which allow us to develop sites as if they were dynamic, but still get all of the benefits of them being static. We can even use a Headless CMS to store data with no hit to performance.
Examples of Static Websites
There are a number of popular Static Site Generators (SSG). The list includes names such as Hugo, Gatsby, as well as newcomer, and my personal favorite, Astro. Though the technology in a basic form has been around for quite some time with Jekyll, a primarily blog-focused SSG started in 2008 and still commonly used for Github Pages. You can find names all the way from National Geographic to Draft Kings to the very site in which you’re reading this blog all using Static Site Generation as their go-to technology.
Static Websites offer many benefits to businesses of any size, such as increased speed, security, cost-effectiveness, SEO, and maintenance. As static site generators become increasingly popular, the businesses who choose to work with them will continue to reap these benefits and more as technology develops further.
As a web developer, I specialize in creating beautiful, performant websites that are tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re looking for help with your business website, or simply want to ask a question, please contact me through the form on this site, or by my email firstname.lastname@example.org.